Thursday, July 21, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet - Part 2

This is the second of several posts on Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. This post is jointly written with my husband. Part 1 is here.

Obedient to Their Own Husbands.

Titus 2:4-5 "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands."

Debi Pearl talks about being obedient to our own husbands in Chapter 22. In that chapter she retells a conversation between Micheal and their oldest daughter,
When our first daughter was just two months away from geting married, she asked her daddy a theological question. Remember now, she was a graduate of Bible college and had spent three years on the foreign field as a missionary. But, rather than answer her as he had been doing for the previous 26 years, he told her, "I cannot answer your Bible question, for now you believe what your husband believes. He will be your head, and you will follow him. It is time to get adjusted to your new role. Ask him what he believes about it."

Micheal Pearl's answer presents an interesting dilemma for Debi. If Michael Pearl believes that he cannot answer his betrothed daughter's theological question without usurping his future son-in-law's authority, then isn't Debi usurping our husbands' authority by providing such advice?

Whose Game Plan?

This is a theological as well as a practical book. Debi offers her theology on complete sanctification from temptation, blasphemy, deception, leadership of women in the home and church, etc. Michael, however, appears to believe that theological questions ought to be directed at the husband, even to the point of refusing his betrothed daughter's theological question. To be consistent with Michael, shouldn't Debi direct us to our own husbands as well?

Contradicting Their Own Advice

Chapter 23 is titled, "When Not to Obey?" On page 258 Debi writes, there ever a time when a woman should disobey her husband? Since this is a doctrinal issue, I have asked my studious husband to help me out on it. (emphasis in original).
So now we're directed to Michael for a theological question! Shouldn't she tell us to go our husbands? Shouldn't Michael direct us to our husbands, as he did with his daughter? Instead, he launches right into a theological discussion on spheres of authority -- never realizing that he has just violated his very own advice to his daughter and departed from his sphere of authority.

Contradictions Abound

On page 52, Debi begins a section with the quote "What does the Bible say?" In that section, a woman writes Debi a letter raising the issue of a woman's role in the church. Specifically, the writer believes a woman has a role at the platform in church and challenges Debi based on the teachings of another prominent minister. A theolgoical question. Instead of pointing the woman back to her husband, Debi launches into her views.

Debi strongly disagrees with the premise of the woman's letter. Her answer includes a discussion of how people have believed for centuries the same way that Debi does, Michael's scholarship, the use of the King James Bible, and then adds this zinger,

You will have to go to a "pop" TV evangelist or conference speaker, who depends on monetary gifts from women, to get the modern view that you say is taught by men like H____. There is a reason why those people attempt to appeal to the modern woman. Nine out of ten gifts to these ministries and nine out of ten purchases of books and tapes, are by women. Women who can't be close to their husbands have a propensity to develop a self-absorbing spritual intimacy with spiritual leaders - be they men or women. (emphasis in original)
There are multiple problems with this statement.

First, by offering her beliefs, isn't Debi contradicting her own husband's advice to their daughter?

Second, by responding to such letters isn't she feeding the "self-absorbing" problem she laments?

Third, Debi makes an unsupported assertion about the motives of other minsitries, and specifically that of H____. This is a serious issue. Debi has established herself as a Titus 2 woman. Yet one of the qualifications of a Titus 2 woman is,

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.

Debi is treading on thin ice with respect to "false accusers" when attributing motives to others without offering any documentation.

Finally, Debi unwittingly swerves into another contradicition. Couldn't the same thing be said about the Pearl's and their ministry -- that they appeal to and sell primarily to women?

Even in Created to Be His Help Meet, which by the way is specifically written for women, there are strong appeals to women.

For example, on page 186 Debi exhorts her captive audience of women to buy the Pearl's book To Train Up a Child, which, she writes, is a

a must read for every mamma who loves her kids and wants them to be happy,
obedient, hardworking, and smart.

I'm not faulting the Pearl's for advertising or the rewards of their labors, but how many of their books are sold to women? Should we discredit their work on the basis of the same argument Debi provided to this woman?

In Part 3 I explain why these issues are important in light of other advice offered in the book.

Please take a minute to read the comments even if it says zero. There are lots of comments.

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